A Partnership in Christian Community
San Jose Christian School was founded with the analogy of a three-legged stool, that family and school and worshipping in community at church interact and work together. There is symbiotic relationship and a partnership. It is with the basis of this picture that we put into practice consistent Biblical principles. Think about how important practice is when it comes to learning a new language. In order to learn Spanish, I spent four weeks in language school in Costa Rica, living with a “Tico” family, fully immersing in the culture and the language. I think of that experience of learning as a picture of what we try to do at SJCS; immerse our students, collaboratively with the family and church, to learn the language of God’s truth in our lives. We are in this together. When a leg of the stool is missing, things become uneven.
Each one of us is learning and being formed by Jesus more and more into His likeness. We need to participate in Christian community in order to know Jesus. We need to participate in Christian community so that the kingdom of God can shape us, and we need Christian community in order to be a blessing to our time and place. We do that with you here at SJCS as you commit to raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
Stop and Go
And we are off and running! What a great start to the school year. I now have two reasons that I love the first day of school. The first has always been that I want to get going! As a teacher, I planned and prepped through the summer and had high hopes for the year so I just wanted to get going and get teaching! The (new) second reason that I love the first day is all about what we experienced in community on Wednesday morning. When we gather and commit the year and your children, to God and his glory, when we huddle up and pray over them, it is a true picture of God’s kingdom. We trust each other, we encourage one another, we hold each other accountable. This year promises to be a great one as we STOP & listen, GO & do.
Over the summer, I read several articles about the importance of faith-based education in today’s world. Many articles came out of what we would consider “worldly” publications – Time, The New York Times, Huffington Post. Highlights from these articles were about how teachers being invested in individual student success, community like-mindedness, and Biblical values that promote acceptance and encouragement build unity. Those words describe SJCS, but we are much more than that. We are a school were students find their voice, where students learn to appreciate others’ opinions, where students encourage and pray with each other, celebrating God’s goodness and faithfulness. In our intimate environment where teachers take an active interest in all students, where buddies between grade levels foster leadership, and where we build connections between subjects and Biblical thinking, students are active learners and growing believers.
Thank you for trusting us with you children, the students of SJCS who are the leaders of tomorrow. Let’s pray together for a year of understanding what it truly means to love mercy, do justice and walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8)
The Sweet Days of Summer
Close your eyes and think back to those sweet days of summer when you were a kid. I know, some of us are having to think back a bit further than others… For me, I remember the freedom I had to explore and create all day long. Growing up in rural Vermont and spending the majority of my summers at our cottage in Ontario (Canada), I was either in the woods, climbing mountains, or spending days on the lake. I vividly remember playing Huck Finn, making forts, learning to sail, and using my imagination to create adventures. The only screen time that was available back in those days was a TV with rabbit ears for antennae, and we did not have one! Yes, I know, things have changed, but I do hope that we don’t lose that joy of summer fun.
I read this just the other day, and I thought it would be a good reminder. The whole idea of stepping back and away from the busyness is a GOOD thing for us all.
"Be a human being, not a human doing. Experience life -- don't just take pictures of others doing it. Be unafraid to go where cellular signals do not break the underbrush. When you disconnect, you'll return with renewed energy that comes from reestablishing relationships. You'll think more clearly after having your thought patterns uninterrupted by tweets, beats, and the bleats of an always-on society."
I don’t know about you, but I tend to be on the move all the time, making lists, completing projects, and planning. This leaves little time to rest. The truth is, we get tired because our schedules are full. We are also weary because our spirits are depleted. Within each one of us resides a soul that desperately needs renewal and restoration, something an overloaded schedule doesn’t always allow. God’s Word reminds us in Psalm 23 that he restores our soul. However, we sometimes get in the way of that because it is difficult to turn our hearts and minds away from the noise of our everyday lives.
So take this summer to enjoy your friends and family. Also, try sitting alone with the Lord to be still-reading the Bible, praying, connecting in a deep way. Enjoy his creation and be creative in it. I look forward to hearing your stories of reconnecting, adventure, and joy from this summer.
Working For One Purpose
What a great night we had on Saturday! The Auction was a huge success both financially and in building community. It was great to see so many of you there, and it was such a pleasure to meet some new friends. Please accept a HUGE thank you to all of you who had a part in that success. I celebrate this success as another glimpse of God’s faithfulness to San Jose Christian School.
I am reminded of the final chapter of Romans. Chapter 16 is basically a list of thanks to people who were Paul’s encouragers or friends in the Lord. As we read through that list, we see how it took the work of these men and women TOGETHER to lay the foundation of the church. The work of the early church was not done through just one person because no one could do everything that was necessary, but through committed believers working for one purpose, they each used their gifts to serve the Lord and each other. That is what God calls us to do, still.
As we continue to fulfill our mission, may we live, learn, and serve together be a true reflection of God’s intention for Christian community.
Christian Education Can Change the World
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ~Nelson Mandela
I read the quote above last week in an article, and at first I was a bit put o by the use of the word weapon. In today’s world, there are some trigger words, aren’t there? However, what a genius use of that word. Add in the word CHRISTIAN at the beginning of that quote, and then it becomes a summary of the SJCS mission statement. We are in the business of seeing our students engage and transform (change) the world for Jesus Christ.
We prepare our students to do this in so many ways.
- We value and develop the WHOLE CHILD as a unique work of God. This includes their character, their creativity, their academic abilities, and their spiritual, emotional and physical growth.
- We help them look at God’s world and His people through a BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW. We the many messages that are given in our culture, we take the time to answer the hard questions and help students be discerning in their decision making process.
- We are an INTENTIONAL, FAITH INFUSED community. This means that we walk in close partnership with our students, teachers and their families. We keep each other accountable. We sharpen each other.
San Jose Christian is about planting the seeds that will one day grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. It is this beginning step that gives an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
Christian education is the best gift you can give your children. It is the most important foundation that you can lay for them. Thank you for continuing to partner together with us for God’s glory and the growth of His Kingdom.
The other day I got an email from a high-end retailer who thinks it is in the business of telling me what I need. You need Uggs! The email went on to tell me that they are just the one to meet my needs. And they we not offering me Uggs on sale, either.
Sadly, there are many other companies and people and influencers that do the same. Even more sadly, we believe them. We try to find empty ways in which to fill our lives with what we believe we need to make us happy or to bring us fulfillment. Trouble is, we get disappointed if we look to things or people to take the place of what we really need.
Yes, the Bible says that it is Jesus who will meet our needs. As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, we realize how He longs to meet our needs. As Psalm 27 tells us, “the LORD is our Stronghold”- not the things of this world- “He is my light and my salvation.” We need to rid ourselves of any of the other strongholds that may have a grip on us.
Uggs? Well, in the name of full disclosure, I have a pair of Uggs. (I bought them on sale about 8 years ago) They are useful, and I do need them when I visit snow country. It is not bad to have them or other things like that. However, when we try to fill our needs with things on earth, we will come up empty.
Are you letting this world tell you what you need? Or are you relying fully on Jesus to meet your needs?
One of the reasons that God puts us in community is to be able to support and encourage each other as we navigate the journey on which God has put us. It brings great joy and honor to God as we, the SJCS community, come together to celebrate each other, pray for each other, and support each other as part of God’s family. It is an honor and a privilege to work alongside you as we seek to educate and engage your sons and daughters to transform the world for Jesus Christ.
SJCS is a unique and special place where children are challenged to think and grow as students as they develop their God-given gifts and personalities. You have trusted us with your children, and we appreciate the partnership in which we LOVE-LEARN-SERVE together. You have many choices for your child’s education, and you have chosen very well! Thank you for your commitment and investment in a Christ-centered education where we seek to be faithful stewards of our resources in raising up a generation of children who will stand for Christ in a culture that often does not.
Receiving the sea of re-enrollment packets at this time of year encourages us that our partnership with your family is as important to you as it is for us. Keep them coming! God calls us to live in Christian community, and San Jose Christian School is committed to your family as we live out Philippians 2 together.
"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."
100 Meets 4 Months
As many of you know, I spent New Year’s weekend celebrating my grandmother’s 100th birthday. Family gathered from all over the US, with great grandchildren Face-timing in from Australia and Ireland. It was a wonderful gathering and celebration and a true vision on God’s goodness and faithfulness to our family. As my grandmother said in her brief remarks,” the best thing in my life is my family and even better, that they all belong to the Lord.”
It struck me, though, that we often wait until a milestone birthday or a special occasion to share with those in our lives how much they mean to us, how much they have impacted us, and how grateful we are for them. We should not wait! This should be a common practice. This is how we can SPEAK LIFE into our family and friends on a regular basis. No waiting for a special occasion - just do it.
The Bible remind us of this fact often, but the word picture that Proverbs 16:24 gives is pretty awesome:
Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. (NLT)
Oh, that our mouths would drip with words that show gratitude and encourage.
Happy New Year!
Emmanuel - The Miracle of Christmas
God with us. Are there any three words that can give more assurance and peace to us frail and sinful human beings? I do not believe so. As we come into the final weeks of celebrating advent, it is that for which we should be grateful. God gave us Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, when He sent that baby. That baby, our Savior.
A.W. Tozer said, “Jesus Christ knows the worst about you. Nonetheless, He is the one who loves you most.” In my mind, that is the biggest miracle of Christmas. God in His sovereignty had each one of us in His mind, He already had a plan for each of us, and I think He took one look at our future and thought, “I need to send a Savior NOW!” Jesus, human born, yet divine in nature, became Emmanuel in that manger. More than 2000 years later, He is still with us and His Word is still true.
As we gather with family and friends, our joy should be overflowing. November isn’t the real Thanksgiving-the celebration of Christ’s birth should garner true, faith-filled Thanksgiving from each and every one of us. In the midst of all the noise, listen. Listen for the voice of God and rest in the peace that GOD IS WITH US! His promises were and are and always will be true. Forever.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness forever.The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Merry Christmas from the SJCS family to yours.
Advent Upon Us
About 15 years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Vienna, Austria with my church choir to sing at several cathedrals in Vienna and surrounding cities. (We even sang at the church where Mozart played the organ-so cool!) Many other choirs joined us as part of a large Advent sing festival that lasted for the entire Advent season. Advent candles could be found at every corner and market. It was amazing to be part of the anticipation of Christmas.
In Latin, the word advent means coming. At Christmas, it doesn’t mean the coming of gifts or parties or shopping, but the coming of our Savior. Take a minute to think about the number of years that Jesus’ coming was anticipated. However, the fact that he came in such a humble way, as a baby, was not the splendor that many expected. Even with Isaiah’s prophecy that He would be born to a virgin, there was (and is) unbelief. For the Savior to be born into the poverty of a peasant and spend His first night in a feed trough was unimaginable. Think of it. The God of the universe left the glory of heaven and moved into a rough neighborhood. All because He loves us.
As we look forward to celebrate Christ’s first coming, His birth, let’s remember to praise God and be amazed by His Gift of love to us.
Christ Himself was like God in everything...But He gave up His place with God and made Himself nothing. He was born as a man and became like a servant. Philippians 2:6-7
Thanks and Giving
I love November. There is something about the turn of the calendar that helps me push a personal reset button. It comes from breaking down the word THANKSGIVING into two words -- Thanks and Giving. Let’s consider those two words as they relate to SJCS.
Although we should be filled with daily gratitude throughout the year, it is in this month that we all refocus that. In some of my previous talks and musings this year, I have mentioned that one way to Speak Life is to say something positive. I believe that gratitude is an important beginning to positivity. My “life verse” has always been Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Note that Paul doesn’t say in some things, but in EVERYTHING. And because Thanksgiving was not a holiday back in Paul’s time, I am convinced that he meant ALL THE TIME. Consider keeping a gratitude journal with your family and celebrate God’s faithfulness and grace regularly. Be filled with daily gratitude and joy.
If you take a moment to look around our campus, you will see giving in action, each day and each moment. Teachers give their heart and soul in order that our students learn at high levels and come to know and love Jesus more each day. Parents are on campus, giving of their time and e ort with helping with activities and events. Both teachers and parents willingly give their talents and their gifts, usually in service to others. Parents, alumni, and supporters give their treasure in big and small ways in order for our school to thrive and plan for the future. The collaboration of this time, these talents, and these treasures that allows SJCS to be the school God intends.
When you consider San Jose Christian School, you see the body of Christ coming together in a similar way to the early church in the books of Acts. We share what we have, whether it be time, talent or treasures, with each other, that we would grow and see lives transformed by Jesus. Thank you ALL for being part of this intentional Christian community. I thank you for sharing. I thank you for giving. Let the attitude of gratitude pervade our school each and every day, not just this month.